Plan to woo more China investments

SERI KEMBANGAN, Selangor: Malaysia is committed to attracting more investments from China, Deputy Prime Minister Tan Sri Muhyiddin Mohd Yassin says.

Currently, for every US dollar (RM3.15) pledged to Malaysia's economy, Malaysian businessmen pump in US$12 (RM37.80) into the middle kingdom's economy. "I would like to see the narrowing of investment gap in the years to come," Muhyiddin said.

According to the Statistics Department, Malaysia has nearly US$6 billion ( RM18.9 billion) worth of investments in China in the first eight months of 2011, while China has invested only about US$500 million (RM1.6 billion) in Malaysia.

Minister of International Trade and Industry Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed, meanwhile, said: "We will organise more trade missions to China, at least twice a year, to woo businesses in different provinces to invest in Malaysia," said Minister of International Trade and Industry (MITI) Datuk Seri Mustapa Mohamed.

He said a Malaysia-China Economic Cooperation Working Group has been set up to identify bilateral cooperation projects in nine areas including halal, industrial park, tourism, wholesale and retail. The group, made up of senior government officials from both countries, will draw up a five-year development programme by mid-2012, Mustapa said.

Both Muhyiddin and Mustapa were speaking at the third edition of the World Chinese Economic Forum here yesterday.

The deputy prime minister acknowledged that China is Malaysia's biggest export market, while Malaysia is China's largest trading partner in Asean.

"During China Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Malaysia in April 2011, our leaders spoke of strengthening trade ties," he said.

By 2015, Muhyiddin expects trade between Malaysia and China to double and surpass US$100 billion (RM315 billion).

One of Malaysia's significant exports to China is palm oil, which is mainly refined into cooking oil for everyday use. During his second official visit to Malaysia then, Wen promised Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak that China will continue to buy big quantities of Malaysian palm oil.

In the first nine months of this year, China bought 2.95 million tonnes of palm oil, 9 per cent more than the same period last year.

Two weeks ago, at the China-Asean Expo held in the southern city of Nanning, Najib met up with Wen again. Both leaders pledged warmer trade ties. One of the significant joint projects included the establishment of the Malaysia-China Qinzhou Industrial Park.

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